The world record for a manned flight powered only by AA batteries was set on 16 July at an airport north of Tokyo. There isn’t much competition in that category, but the plane’s sponsor, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., in Osaka, which made all 160 of the plane’s batteries, sure is proud of the accomplishment. That summer day the plane, which weighs just 54 kilograms without a pilot and has a wingspan of 31 meters, flew a distance of 391.4 meters. It managed to stay aloft for 59 seconds and reached an altitude of 5.2 meters. Matsushita asked students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology to design and build the plane to show off its new Panasonic brand Oxyride dry cell batteries. The company claims the battery has an edge on ordinary alkaline batteries for consumer electronics that drain energy quickly, such as digital cameras. The batteries use souped-up alkaline chemistry that includes finer-grained fillers and a new kind of nickel-based cathode.
Keep On Flying
Look past the screaming headlines and you’ll see that airliners have never been safer
NASA's LEAPTech X-plane Will Fly with 18 Electric Motors and Tiny Wings
With a double nonet of small electric motors, the LEAPTech X-plane increases efficiency by 60%
Solar Plane Finishes First Sea Crossing of Epic Journey
A solar plane crossed the Arabian Sea during its round-the-world journey
Flying Selfie Bots: Tag-Along Video Drones Are Here
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Mostly Right! Updates on Our 2014 Predictions
Drones, virtual reality, and electric race cars all made news
NTSB Raps Some Knuckles With Boeing Battery-Fire Report
Boeing, battery manufacturer, FAA criticized for lax standards that led to 2013 battery fire
NTSB Decision Defining "Aircraft" as Anything That Flies Lacks Common Sense
FAA regulations found to apply to "any device that is used for flight." Does that include paper airplanes too?
FAA: Airlines Must Replace Boeing Cockpit Screens to Avoid Wi-Fi Interference
Federal regulators give airlines five years to replace Boeing cockpit displays susceptible to radio frequency interference
That Toy Is Now a Drone, Says the FAA
A Federal Aviation Administration announcement makes video-piloted models subject to regulation
Solar Plane With Global Aims Makes First Flight
Solar Impulse 2 makes two-hour inaugural flight in Switzerland
Software Testing Problems Continue to Plague F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program
Program and contractor officials confident in meeting current schedules, however
Laser Makes More Accurate Radar System
Photonic radar system would be smaller and more precise
Malaysia Air Flight 370 Would Not Have Disappeared if We'd Had This System
"Glass Box," the real-time transmission of all relevent flight data, would have given investigators far more to go on
Is It a Helicopter? Is It a Plane? Is It a Jeep? Yes.
A U.S. military robotic flying machine that can carry a variety of snap-on loads is due for testing by next year
Netflix Ad Spoofs Amazon's Drone Dreams
Netflix asks, "What could possibly go wrong with drone delivery of DVD disks?"
Chris Anderson’s Expanding Drone Empire
At the former Wired editor’s start-up, 3D Robotics, open-source robots take to the skies
Singapore’s $300-Million Air-Traffic Automation System Unveiled
The star of the Singapore Airshow is the venue itself, whose systems makes sense of a multitude of sensors
Batteries Aboard Boeing Dreamliner Go Blooey Again
Japan Airlines grounds 787s and sings, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
Introducing Solara, the Atmospheric Satellite
Titan Aerospace’s high-flying drones could deliver satellite services without leaving the atmosphere
Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone?
As civilian UAVs take to U.S. skies, they’ll face pushback—and perhaps a few shotguns